« ZurückWeiter »
finding it an easy pad-ram, and foreseeing she might have further occasion for it, she purchased it of the steward.
• Mrs. Sarah Dainty, relict of Mr. John Dainty, who was the greatest prude of the parish, came next in the procession. She at first made some difficulty of taking the tail in her hand; and was observed, in pronouncing the form of penance, to soften the two most emphatical words into clincum clancum : but the steward took care to make her speak plain English before he would let her have her land again.
The third widow that was brought to this worldly shame, being mounted upon a vicious råm, had the misfortune to be thrown by him ; upon which she hoped to be excused from going through the rest of the ceremony; but the steward, being well versed in the law, obse ed very wisely upon this occasion, that the breaking of the rope does not hinder the execution of the criminal.
• The fourth lady upon record was the widow Ogle, a famous coquette, who had kept half a score young fellows off and on for the space of two years ; but having been more kind to her carter John, she was introduced with the huzzas of all her lovers about her.
Mrs. Sable appearing in her weeds, which were very new and fresh, and of the same colour with her whimsical palfrey, made a very decent figure in the solemnity:
Another, who had been summoned to make her appearance, was excused by the steward, as well knowing in his heart, that the good squire himself had qualified her for the ram.
Mrs. Quick, having nothing to object against the indictment, pleaded her belly. But it was remembered that she made the same excuse the year
before. Upon which the steward observed, that she might so contrive it, as never to do the service of the manor.
• The widow Fidget being cited into court, insisted that she had done no more since the death of her husband than what she used to do in his lifetime ; and withal desired Mr. Steward to con. sider his own wife's case if he should chance to die before her.
• The next in order was a dowager of a very corpulent make, who would have been excused as not finding any ram that was able to carry her ; upon which the steward commuted her punishment, and ordered her to make her entry upon a black ox.
• The widow Maskwell, a woman who had long lived with a most unblemished character, having turned off her old chamber-maid in a pet, was by that revengeful creature brought in upon the black ram nine times the same day.
Several widows of the neighbourhood, being brought upon their trial, showed that they did not hold of the manor, and were discharged accord. ingly. :
• A pretty young creature who closed the pro- : cession came ambling in, with so bewitching an air, that the steward was observed to cast a sheep's eye upon her, and married her within a month after the death of his wife.
•N. B. Mrs. Touchwood appeared, according to summons, but had nothing laid to her charge; hav. ing lived irreproachably since the decease of her husband, who left her a widow in the sixty-ninth · year of her age.
I am, Sir, &c.'
N° 624. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 24, 1714.
Audire, atque togam jubeo componere, quisquis
HOR. 2. Sat. iii. 77.
MANKIND is divided into two parts, the busy and the idle. The busy world may be divided into the virtuous and the vicious. The vicious again into the covetous, the ambitious, and the sensual. The idle part of mankind are in a state inferior to any one of these. All the other are engaged in the pure suit of happiness, though often misplaced, and are therefore more likely to be attentive to such means as shall be proposed to them for that end. The idle, who are neither wise for this world nor the next, are emphatically called by doctor Tillotson fools at large.' They propose to themselves no end, but run adrift with every wind. Advice therefore would be but thrown away upon them, since they would scarce take the pains to read it. I shall not fa. tigue any of this worthless tribe with a long harangne; but will leave them with this short saying of Plato, that labour is preferable to idleness, as brightness to rust.'
The pursuits of the active part of mankind are ei. ther in the paths of religion and virtue; or, on the other hand, in the roads to wealth, honours, or plea.
I shall, therefore, compare the pursuits of avarice, ambition, and sensual delight with their op.
posite virtues ; and shall consider which of these principles engages men in a course of the greatest Jabour, suffering, and assiduity. Most men in their eool reasonings, are willing to allow that a course of virtue will in the end be rewarded the most amply; but represent the way to it as rugged and nar.
If therefore it can be made appear, that men struggle through as many troubles to be miserable, as they do to be happy, my readers may, perhaps, be persuaded to be good when they find they shall lose nothing by it.
First, for avarice. The miser is more industrious than the saint: the pains of getting, the fears of losing, and the inability of enjoying his wealth, have been the mark of satire in all ages. Were his, re. pentance upon his neglect of a good bargain, his sorrow for being over-reached, his hope of improving a sum, and his fear of falling into want, directed to their proper objects, they would make so many different Christian graces and virtues. He may ap. ,ply to himself a great part of saint Paul's catalogue of sufferings. In journeying often; in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often.' At how much less expense might he' lay up to himself treasures in heaven ! Or, if I may in this place be allowed to add the saying of a great philosopher, he may provide such possessions as fear Meither arms, nor men, nor Jove himself.'
In the second place, if we look upon the toils of ambition in the same light, as we have considered those of avarice, we shall readily own that far less trouble is requisite to gain lasting glory than the power and reputation of a few years; or, in other words, we may with more ease deserve honour tkan
obtain it. The ambitious man should remember car. dinal Wolsey's complaint, Had I served God with the same application wherewith I served my king, he would not have forsaken me in my old age. The cardinal here, softens his ambition by the specious pretence of serving his king;' whereas his words, in the proper construction, imply, that, if instead of being acted * by ambition, he had been acted by religion, he should now have felt the comforts of it, when the whole world turned its back upon him.
Thirdly, let us compare the pains of the sensual with those of the virtuous, and see which are heavier in the balance. It may seem strange, at the first view, that the men of pleasure should be advised to change their course, because they lead a painful life. Yet when we see them so active and vigilant in quest of delight; under so many disquiets, and the sport of such various passions : let them answer, as they can, if the pains they undergo do not outweigh their enjoyments. The infidelities on the one part be. tween the two-sexes, and the caprices on the other, the debasement of reason,
of expectation, the disappointments in possession; the stings of remorse, the vanities and vexations attending even the most refined delights that make up this business of life, render it so silly and uncomfortable, that no man is thought wise until he hath got !
over it, or happy, but in proportion as he hath cleared himself from it.
The sum of all is this. Man is made an active being. Whether he walks in the paths of virtue or vice, he is sure to meet with many difficulties to prove his patience and excite his industry. The same, if not greater labour is required iu the ser